Many agents shy away from telephone soliciting. However, this is a vital technique for developing one’s sales technique, by honing communications skills, building confidence (because it affords the agent anonymity should he or she make any mistakes), and improving the ability to answer objections. It also helps the agent overcome telephone fear or shyness.

Techniques such as pivoting and fact finding also are greatly improved. The agent’s delivery will come easier on the interview if the agent practices on the telephone, especially for newer agents.

The best way to become comfortable with the telephone is to be consistent. I recommend that the agent set aside an hour or two a day and get to it!

In the beginning, the agent may feel awkward and uncomfortable and, literally, may have to force himself to pick up the receiver and start soliciting. However, in a short while, using the telephone will become second nature to the agent, and he will find it an excellent way to fill the breaks in his schedule.

I like to play a little game with myself called “call ratio” to improve my telephone skills. The idea of this game is that for every “no” the agent receives on the telephone, he is that much closer to getting a “yes.”

In the beginning, a new agent may have to make as many as 50 cold calls before making one appointment. I encourage agents, especially new agents, to use the telephone often enough that the ratio is brought down to five to one or 10 to one.

Even after six years in the insurance selling business, I still find myself turning to the telephone. Most of the clients I have today originated from cold-call telephone leads.

I strongly suggest agents give it a try.

Editor’s note: The preceding Million Dollar Sales Idea was originally published in the August 1988 issue of Life Insurance Selling.

For more Million Dollar Sales Ideas, click here.

For more on cold calling, see:

Two calls, then throw them out

Project a professional image over the telephone

Cold calling: Get out of your comfort zone